Safety And Preliminary Efficacy Of Sequential Multiple Ascending Doses Of Solnatide To Treat Pulmonary Permeability Edema In Patients With Moderate To Severe ARDS In A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Trial: Preliminary Evaluation Of Safety And Feasibility In Light Of The COVID-19 Pandemic

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Background: In May 2018 the first patient was enrolled in the phase-IIb clinical trial “Safety and Preliminary Efficacy of Sequential Multiple Ascending Doses of Solnatide to Treat Pulmonary Permeability Edema in Patients with Moderate to Severe ARDS” With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020, the continuation and successful execution of this clinical study was in danger. Therefore, before the Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) allowed proceeding with the study and enrollment of further COVID-19 ARDS patients into it, additional assessment on possible study bias was considered mandatory. Methods: We conducted an ad hoc interim analysis of 16 patients (5 COVID-19- ARDS patients and 11 with ARDS from different causes) from the phase-IIB clinical trial. We assessed possible differences in clinical characteristics of the ARDS patients and the impact of the pandemic on study execution. Results: COVID-19 patients seemed to be less sick at baseline, which also showed in higher survival rates over the 28-day observation period. Trial specific outcomes regarding pulmonary edema and ventilation parameters did not differ between the groups, nor did more general indicators of (pulmonary) sepsis like oxygenation ratio and required noradrenaline doses. Conclusion: The DSMB and the investigators did not find any evidence that patients suffering from ARDS due to SARS-CoV-2 may be at higher (or generally altered) risk when included in the trial, nor were there indications that those patients might influence the integrity of the study data altogether. For this reason, a continuation of the phase IIB clinical study activities can be justified. Researchers continuing clinical trials during the pandemic should always be aware that the exceptional circumstances may alter study results and therefore adaptations of the study design might be necessary.

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